inSec - The Return of Korea's Prodigal Son
Choi "inSec" In-seok is one of the true originals the Korean League of Legends scene has produced, a unique beast unlike any player before or after him. The innovator of the 'inSec kick' on Lee Sin, he is just as famous for his masterful mechanical magic on the blind monk, single-handidly creating kills and turning fights, as he is for over-extending himself and having his aggression forced back on him, giving up his life.
Legendary for his aptitude on mobility champions, he revived carry Jungling and commanded focus bans, only to swap positions, in his prime no less, to become an above average but not spectacular Top laner. For all his physical gifts and unique traits, inSec always seemed a man out of time. When his KT B line-up were the second best in the world, two crucial losses cost them a place at the World Championship. Going up 2:0 in Bo5 series numerous times throughout his career, yet repeatedly losing three games in a row to be eliminated, inSec's career seemed cursed.
Exiled to China, playing in a team featuring only one name worthy of star status, inSec's career looked to be over as a relevant player, resigned to battling it out for LPL play-off spots for the rest of his career, only for his team to make a startling and exciting run at the Season 4 World Championship, with his own form spiking as the tournament went on and his hybrid Korean-Chinese squad climbing into the most important match of the entire year.
This is the story of a player whose career has been marked by a battle between mesmerising mechanics and a mysterious mind. This the story of the kid who was kicked out of the Korean scene, only to kick back and jump into the final of the World Championship. This is the story of inSec.
The rookie mistake
inSec, like many of the early Korean adopters of League of Legends, was forced to play on the North American server initially, as Korea had no server of its own until 2012. When the competitive scene did arrive fully in his native land, with TV channel OnGameNet launching their first season of Champions, the premier offline tournament, inSec competed with Team Bubble to win the first NLB, the secondary league below Champions. A 3:0 victory in the final over Light meant Bubble were required to play a seeding match for the next OGN Season, for which they had now qualified, the following day. The problem was that inSec showed up to that match too late.
The story goes that inSec did not know if his team would win the NLB final, so he had neglected to book a train ticket for the following day. When he attempted to purchase one on the day, he claims they were sold out and he was forced to take the bus. This resulted in him being late and OGN ruling that his team had to forfeit the match. Korean eSports is notoriously strict when it comes to adhering to the specifics of ettiquette, with a famous example springing to mind from Korean StarCraft: Brood War in which a player typed "a" in chat, by accident, only to be forced to forfeit the game due to typing a letter.
inSec's failure to arrive on time resulted in his being barred from competing in the Summer season of OGN Champions. Members of Team Bubble would join the CJ Entus organisation without inSec, while the banned Jungler began playing with StarTale mere after the seeding match incident. This StarTale line-up featured Ryu, Mafa and Score (then called Joker), who would feature heavily in his future. Competing in the online tournament Stars War 7, they were able to defeat MiG Frost, one of Korea's best teams, in the semi-final.
Entering the top echelon of competition
Without inSec, CJ Entus finished in last place in their OGN group, losing all three games. On August 13th, he joined CJ officially. The first offline tournament for inSec would be the Korean Regional Qualifier for the Season 2 World Championship. Days before the event, CJ added skilled Mid laner dade. They would face Incredible Miracle in the fifth place tie-breaker, losing 1:3 and immediately relinquishing any chance to battle on American soil on the world stage.
Shortly after Worlds had concluded, CJ competed in the online Enter the Dragon competition. They were swept in the quarter-final by World Elite, China's best team and soon to be established as the best team in the entire world. The following month, OGN Champions Winter began. CJ won their first two series, but were beaten down bigger names like Azubu Blaze and the two NaJin sides (Shield and Sword). Days before their loss to Sword, inSec and CJ were able to qualify for IEM VII Cologne, defeating DanDy and imp's MVP White to do so.
In Germany, inSec announced his international arrival with an immediate display of his powerful carry Jungling. Playing Zed, he beat down CLG.EU, one of Europe's elite teams, who had been a game from winning the previous season of OGN Champions and had been semi-finalists at the World Championship. Opposing Jungler Snoopeh could do nothing as inSec amassed a CS score a Top laner could have been proud of and imposed his will upon the match. Despite an upset loss to the Poles of MYM, inSec and CJ Entus were headed to the play-offs of the tournament.
In the semi-final they would face FNATIC, arguably Europe's strongest team, following their impressive Dreamhack Winter victory and IPL5 finals finish. inSec helped set-up the potential upset, stomping the first game with a score-line of 7/2/11 on his Olaf. FNATIC evened the series up and would battle through a competitive deciding game, where inSec's Zed could kill but not pull ahead, giving up just as many deaths frequently. Despite failing to make the final, the world now knew of this strange and fierce beast that roamed the Korean jungles.
Pushing the best
Back in Korea, CJ lost their last remaining group stage series and found themselves in the last play-off spot of their group. That placing meant they would be paired with the top seed from the other group, Azubu Frost, the reigning champions of OGN Champions Summer. Early on, the match-up looked to be as one-sided as the seeding would have suggested, but CJ won the third game to stave off elimination. In the fourth game, inSec turned a CloudTemplar signature champion against him, ganking furiously around the map on amumu.
The series was tied up at 2:2 and thus the fifth game would invoke the custom 'blind pick' format of OGN, where there was no banning and teams picked whichever champions they pleased, unable to see what their opponents were selecting, thus allowing for mirror match-ups. inSec made his intentions apparent as he locked in Zed and looked to force his way into the semi-final. The game was a true thriller, with the kill score and gold difference close at 53 minutes, sitting at more than 60 kills combined and over 180,000 gold. Both teams knew that at this point a single large mistake would cost them the game and the series.
Frost would come up with the decisive plays and steal the victory, leaving inSec bitterly disappointed at the missed opportunity to claim the scalp of Korea's top dogs and sneak into the top four of the tournament. His opposing Jungler, the cerebral CloudTemplar, had delivered in the final game with a stat-line worthy of his intellectual approach, boasting 25 assists on Shen.
Being eliminated prior to the semi-final meant a trip down into the NLB tournament. CJ reached the final of the competition and battled against a GSG team which featured ManDu, easyhoon, Heart and Acorn in its line-up. The series went to five games and again inSec and his men came out on the wrong side of the deciding game. That victory would be the end of inSec's time in CJ Entus, with the organisation acquiring Frost and Blaze, two of the best teams in the world, and releasing the current CJ line-up.
A new team, old faces and a shoot-out in Dallas
On the 27th of February it was announced that inSec had joined KT Rolster B, teaming up with Ryu, Mafa and Score again. KT B had reached the semi-final of the previous OGN, losing out to eventual champions NaJin Sword, and many felt that the addition of star Jungler inSec could be the roster move to put them over the top into championship contender status. Previous KT B Jungler KaKAO was moved over to KT A.
In the middle of March, inSec and KT B traveled to Dallas, USA, for the MLG Winter Championship International Exhibition. This four team exhibition tournament featured Gambit Gaming, who had shocked the world by defeating Frost and Blaze to win IEM VII Katowice two months prior and battled to a top four finish at the IEM VII World Championship earlier in March. Along with the Russian side, top North American teams Curse and Dignitas were in attendance.
KT B's first opponent would be Curse, who were tearing up the first NA LCS split at the time. inSec went up against Saintvicious, one of the original carry Junglers in the competitive scene, and was able to showcase a monster Nasus performance in the close-out second win for KT B, showing the old master how the new generation of carry Jungler could affect a game. The final was a dream for Jungling fans, as it pit KT against Gambit. Diamondprox, the Jungler of Gambit, was considered the best in history at his position, yet to be truly equalled by the best Asians.
The final delivered in all respects, with the games showing the exciting potential of both teams and the fans getting the jungle back-and-forth they ached for. Diamondprox and inSec each stomped a game, pushing the series to a deciding third. Here, Diamondprox would win the small battle, providing the infamous Udyr out-play onto inSec's Lee Sin, a champion Diamond had himself made a signature pick the previous year, but lose the overall war and the series. inSec's second international trip had seem him finishing at the top of the podium and holding the trophy. Experts pondered if perhaps this was a team which could return home and claim the OGN Champions title next.
By now, inSec's fame had spread the world over. His mechanical mastery of Lee Sin was famous well beyond merely the competitive scene, with solo queue players throughout the ranks all attempting to perform his patented 'inSec kick'. The move involved Qing to an opponent, dropping a ward behind them, Wing to the ward and then using Lee's ultimate (Dragon's Rage) to kick the opponent, or even multiple opponents, back into Lee's team, where the opponent can be cleaned up by Lee's team-mates.
inSec was not merely the pioneer of this move, he was and is the best to ever perform the action. Despite every Lee Sin player making this move a part of his arsenal, none have truly ever mastered the mechanical component with the speed and accuracy inSec has time and time again proven to be at his finger-tips. The sequence of movements can be replicated and improved upon in speed, but inSec's best displays seemingly provide no opportunity to be improved upon, such is the smooth and rapid chaining of the abilities and destructive effect of such a fight-turning kick before the opponent can react.
The impact of inSec's arrival on the scene was that he was not only being hailed as Korea's best Jungler and one of the world's top prospects, but even Diamondprox had acknowledged that the KT player was a worthy rival for him. Diamondprox was famous for his proud demeanour, certain he would and could best any opposing Jungler and even on their best champion. In inSec, the Russian maestro saw someone who could stand against him and show themselves to be his equal.
Captivating the domestic crowd
In their OGN Champions Spring group stage campaign, KT B would quickly set about impressing the Korean fans. In their first four series, they showed what would become their trademark snap decision-making and aptitude for finding risky but thoroughly rewarding plays, rushing barons and forcing game-deciding engagements. Giving up a couple of lost games, they found themselves in position to potentially finish top of their group as they entered their final series. The opponent was CJ Entus Frost, runners-up of the previous OGN season and three-time consecutive finalists in the competition.
Under normal circumstances, both teams would be eager to secure the final series, ensuring they faced what would be expected to be an easier quarter-final match-up in the last placed team in the other group, as inSec's CJ had been the previous season. Instead, an unusual situation presented itself, one in which neither team particularly wanted to win the final series. The winner of the group would be drawn against NaJin Sword, the reigning champions of the previous season. Losing the series would instead provide a draw against MVP Ozone, a team which had never reached the play-offs before and featured a rookie Support player.
The implications of the series meant that the games were not a blockbuster match-up and both teams at times looked as if they wouldn't have been displeased with losing. When KT B lost out 0:2, it was deemed to have been an intentional throw by the Korean fans, yielding a massive online backlash in the time between the end of the group stage and the quarter-finals. Despite KT B being large favourites to win the series and expected to contend for the title, the negative attention surrounding their entrance to the play-offs perhaps played a factor in what happened next.
MVP Ozone won the series, convincingly. KT B could secure only the first game, losing all of the others and seeing dade, former CJ team-mate of inSec's, leading MVP through to the semi-final. A season which had seemed to hold so much promise had ended in another quarter-final exit for inSec. KT B dropped down into NLB and would lose in the semi-final to NaJin Sword, as luck would have it, albeit with a roster change in that line-up.
There was little time to mourn the missed opportunity of that season, as inSec had been voted into the All-Star game for the Korean team. In Shanghai, China, the OGN representatives went without a defeat, winning the competition and out-classing all the other regions. In the 1v1 jungle competition, inSec got to meet Saintvicious and Diamondprox again, once more besting both. Less than a week after All-Stars concluded, KaKAO was announced to have been moved back to the KT B line-up.
A new challenge at the top
The mystery of what KT B would do with their two junglers was solved when it was announced that inSec, very much in the prime of his individual powers, would be moving to the Top lane, with KaKAO taking his spot in the jungle. The team had also been renamed to the KT Rolster Bullets. Days after these changes, KT B competed in the Asian Indoor Games offline tournament. Here they beat World Elite; China's best team; Saigon Jokers; and Taipei Snipers, claiming the title with only a solitary lost game, in their 2:1 win over World Elite in the final.
The OGN Champions Summer season had a new group stage format and KT would finish second again, thanks to tying Frost and IM. This meant they would play a first placed team from another group and that turned out to be CJ Entus Blaze, the finalists of the previous season. The quarter-final match-up between the two was a thriller and inSec's role in it proved vital, as he had to face up against Flame, widely considered to be the best Top laner in the world. inSec had his moments against the CJ man, but it proved to be Mid laner Ryu's victory in the mid lane against Ambition that secured the series for KT, as Zed play against proved to be the nemesis of Blaze.
Into his first ever OGN semi-final, a mark his team-mates had reached the season before he had joined, inSec was facing CJ Entus Frost there. With a long history against Frost, now was the time inSec could truly claw back some revenge, helping fast-track the eventual retirement of CloudTemplar, whose fifth game performance in the Winter season had scarred inSec's young heart, by sweeping the former champions 3:0 and marching into the final. The prize on the line was not merely the most important title in Korean esports, but also a chance to represent South Korea at the Season 3 World Champion, as victory at this stage would give KT the necessary points to qualify in second.
The series began with KT B at their finest, making smart plays and snowballing of Ryu's big performances. They found themselves up 2:0 in the series and a game from the title and the World Championship. So close to an ultimate goal, inSec and KT B were about to have their hearts ground into fine powder. Faker and SK Telecom T1 came alive, roaring back to win the next two games and push the series into a blind pick decider. Where KT had seemed certain of victory, the last two games had seen them ineffectual and now without any hope of using the banning phase to their benefit. The game was a solid win for SKT and the exclamation point would be the now infamous Zed versus Zed outplay of Faker onto Ryu. There would be no OGN title for inSec.
There was, however, still a chance to qualify for the World Championship. The problem was that SKT's victory had not qualified Faker and company into the World Championship, but MVP Ozone, winners of the Spring season and third place finishers in this Summer season. The third and final spot, joining MVP and NaJin Sword in the USA, would be decided by a qualifier tournament. KT lost the fourth place decider 1:2 to Frost and would now need to win three consecutive Bo5 series to qualify for Worlds.
The steep nature of the challenge could not hold KT B back, such was their vitality and force at this time. inSec and his comrades rolled through Blaze and Frost 3:0 each, reaching the final of the qualifier and a rematch against SK Telecom. The two best teams in the world would battle again, with the winner of this series heading to America for a chance to hoist the Summoner's Cup. This series was not the thrilling drama that the OGN final had been, as SKT were able to secure the win in four games this time. SKT went off to the World Championship and would eventually take that title, while KT Rolster B, arguably the second best team in the world, could only watch the proceedings on stream.
After the World Championship had been and gone, KT had a chance to compete internationally again if they could win the Korean qualifier for the World Cyber Games, with the finals to be held in China. A loss to PawN's Samsung Blue meant KT B would need to win a single elimination, best-of-1 bracket to gain a spot back in the main play-off draw. Losing a Bo1 to Blaze ended the event for inSec and his friends. Next up would be the final OGN Champions season of the year.
Meeting Blue in the group stage of OGN Champions Winter, KT split their games. Beating out Sword and IM 2, they would progress in first place from the group. This time it was Blaze who had finished second in their group and thus a rematch was spawned from the quarter-final of the previous season. KT again got the better of the one-time contenders, beating them 3:1 this time. In the semi-final, inSec would face another rematch, as the SK Telecom team who had denied him both the OGN Summer title and the World Championship spot now stood in the way of a return to the finals. The two teams would play their third Bo5 in the span of a few months.
This time around, the series was still closely contested, with KT coming incredibly close to winning the third game, yet ended up with KT unable to take a game and SKT closing the door on them 3:0 and heading on to what would end up being back-to-back OGN titles and an unheard of undefeated season. KTB were still the second best team, but they still had nothing to show for it domestically. Being good was not enough, one must win, yet winning was not possible in the era of the greatest team and player to ever play.
The year had begun with the semi-final loss, but the first tournament to entirely be of 2014 was the OGN Masters, a competition in which organisations could combine rosters while playing a Bo3 against opposing organisations. Bullets soon found their level was nowhere close to the impeccable form of the latter half of 2013. They lost their first two series, with their games being the factor behind three of the games going over to their opponents. inSec was performing particularly poorly, with a 2/12/5 Vi performance in the deciding Masters match against IM.
Seemingly far from OGN contenders any more, they would fly out to Poland to represent Korea in the IEM VIII World Championship in March. Facing international competition, but no Korean sides and only weakened Chinese opponents, KT B looked impressive again. They went without a defeat, winning seven straight games and the crown. In the semi-final, they had beaten Gambit in another thrilling meeting between the two teams. The final had seen KT out-class FNATIC. Throughout the tournament, inSec's play on Kha'Zix had excited fans, as he aggressively pushed his way around the map, using the bug's invisibility ultimate to devastating effect. When seemingly caught out, the Korean seemed mechanically peerless and would escape unscathed.
Back in Korea, a return to Masters also meant a return to being an inferior Korean side. Bullets would win only a single game in their entire run in the competition, taking out old rivals Blaze, a game in which inSec delivered a vintage 10/1/12 Lee Sin performance. KT would not make the play-offs and inSec in particular could be pointed to as a huge hole in their line-up. Over the seven games he had played seven different champions, winning only that lone Lee Sin game. He finished the tournament with a KDA of 1.52 and 42 deaths.
While Masters had been going on, OGN Champions Spring season had begun. KT initially looked to be shaky enough there that they might fail to make the play-offs for the first time. They had drawn against Blue and Sword, making their final series a must-win to have any hope of continuing on. Even if they defeated Falcons, they would need Blue to beat Sword, as even a draw would eliminate inSec's men. As it happened, both required results came to pass and KT were granted a repreive for their season.
In the quarter-final, KT faced NaJin Shield, fellow semi-finals of the previous season. KT pulled a string of form from the void and were able to win the first two games. After dropping the third, they were close to closing out the fourth before they fell apart and lost three key team-fights in a row. inSec's Pantheon could not find the right engages and the series could not be closed out in four games. Blind pick had haunted inSec's career, that Summer quarter-final win over Blaze a lone exception, and today was to be the same story repeated. Shield were the ones composed and pushing on to victory. Yet again, inSec had been a game from winning a key series, only to lose the next three in a row and be defeated.
That would be the end of inSec's career in South Korea. His Masters form coupled with the nature of KT's OGN exit saw him leaving the line-up on May 2nd, with the word being that no Korean teams wanted him and he had been ejected. That seemed to be the end of his career.
Gambling in China
On the first of June it was announced that inSec, along with fellow ex-KT members Zero and VicaL, the latter being a coach, had joined StarHorn Royal Club. The team that had played in the final of the Season 3 World Championship retained only one member of that line-up, explosive AD Carry Uzi, and had been struggling unbearably since their Worlds line-up had fallen apart. Uzi had even been playing the Mid lane position during the Spring season. SHRC had failed to finish top four in any of the tournaments they had played in, far from contenders for the domestic titles.
inSec seemed to bring his Korean form with him, delivering some underwhelming performances in his first few weeks of competition in LPL Summer. There would be occasional good games, such as his 7/0/4 Rengar game against World Elite, but there were far too many average or poor games for one to feel as if this Chinese adventure was set to be a rebirth. By the time SHRC had reached the play-offs, they looked a team impossible to predict the fate of. Despite many poor performnances from inSec and the entire team, they had closed out the season strong with wins over EDG and OMG, the best two Chinese teams.
In the first round of the play-offs, inSec would face LoveLing's OMG in a Bo5. Yet again in his career, inSec went up 2:0, only to lose the series 2:3. The second game had been a stand-out performance for him on Nocturne, but two bad Lee Sin games and two average Kha'Zix performances were not enough to give SHRC the win. Decent Rengar and Jarvan IV displays in the lower bracket saw Royal Club past LDG in a 3:0 sweep.
The lower bracket final was the scene for a rematch with OMG. Once again, the series would go the distance only for inSec and company to fall in the final game. The first three had seen inSec holding it together, but the final two had seen him fall unable to maintain a solid level. inSec's first season in China had finished with a third place, fairly impressive considering where Royal Club had begun and where they were now, especially with such close games against OMG.
Shortly after the season, the Chinese Regional qualifier for the Season 4 World Championship was upon inSec. Defeating LGD, his team would face OMG in the upper bracket final. After a big 5/2/17 Rengar showing, inSec's SHRC would confidently take the series 2:0. That win secured inSec a spot at the World Championship, a dream he might have felt died with KT's inability to qualify the year before. Now all that was to be decided was whether it would be a first or second seed that sent him to the biggest tournament. Facing EDG, winners of both LPL seasons, SHRC took their opponents to the limits and lost out narrowly 1:2.
In this series, SHRC again showed improvement. Where they had, upon inSec's arrival, been disjointed and unable to co-ordinate their approach, with inSec simply engaging and diving enemies whenever he wanted, but sometimes with no follow-up or ill-timed, now they had a cohesion and there was a chemistry developing. From the first eight weeks there had not been many positive signs, but SHRC seemed to be peaking in each subsequent week and now were headed to the World Championship in their best form yet.
Before Worlds could arrive, there was an online competition called X Championship to play. SHRC were able to beat out OMG and World Elite Academy, but fell to the little known King in the final 0:2.
The debut at Worlds
Drawn into the only group not to feature a Korean team, inSec found himself with an excellent chance to reach the play-off stage. That only improved when SK Gaming had their star Jungler banned from the first three games, as a result of inappropriate behaviour. The main rival in the group would be TSM, who had won the North American LCS. In the first meeting between the two teams, SHRC delivered a disgusting beat-down and looked levels above their opponents.
Throughout the group, SHRC would lose only a single game, falling in the second meeting with TSM. They did have shaky moments, such as their first game against TPA, but their level remained good enough to secure the wins. inSec was performing well, but it was the monsterous play of AD Carry Uzi, who seemed to have gotten a boost heading into the competition, that was enthralling the spectators. SHRC headed into the play-offs with the first seed from their group and would be drawn against EDG, the champions of their own region.
Facing the Chinese masters
With EDG having beaten SHRC in the final of the Chinese Regional and having won both LPL splits, one might have expected inSec and his gang to be significant underdogs for this meeting. In fact, EDG having been decimated in their matches against Samsung White and then shockingly dropping a game to ahq meant that many saw EDG as slumping so poorly that SHRC could be expected to take the series. For the first two games, that expectation proved merited and SHRC went up 2:0, with their star ADC Uzi out-shining his opposing marquee name, in EDG's NaMei. An inSec game two performance on Lee Sin suggested everything was working the right way for the Korean and his Chinese team.
Elevated play from the top side of the map for EDG saw them come barrelling back into the series, winning games three and four. inSec was facing yet another elimination fifth game, with the series on the line and all the ghosts of the past summoned to be faced once more. Having fed on Lee Sin in game three, one could understand if nerves were gripping inSec. In the fifth game, he played Jarvan, a champion he had been mediocre on during his entire LPL run, but this time would be different.
This time, it was a cathartic victory that met inSec's weary soul. Rather than the classic 'disappointed inSec' camera close-up, he could celebrate taking the decisive game and moving into the final four of the biggest tournament of the year. Six months earlier, his team had been struggling to even show themselves a top four Korean team, now inSec found himself about to compete for a spot in the final of the World Championship.
Another domestic battle
The story-book victory over EDG was followed up by an appropriate next chapter, as the team that greeted inSec in the semi-final was not the NaJin Shield who had stomped the Korean qualifier, but a revitalised OMG, who had brought in Support player ClouD and looked more dangerous than ever. If OMG had twice beaten SHRC in Bo5s with an inferior Support player, now seemed their best chance to emphatically move past Uzi and inSec.
OMG seemed to have the right pick and ban strategy for inSec, keeping him away from Lee Sin and Rengar. They took the opener, but inSec came back with a 5/3/8 Kha'Zix game, a champion he had been somewhat average on prior to then, to even the series. A shocking Fiddlesticks pick saw inspired play from the Korean and his 5/4/10 stat-line told it all as SHRC moved one game from the final. OMG struck back in game four and yet another deciding fifth game stared inSec in the face. This time, he did not crumble, he did not hesitate and he did not fear. inSec locked in Pantheon and put on one of the performances of his career, racking up a heroic 10/3/10 and dominating his opponents. inSec was going to the final of the World Championship.
The final bosses
To this point in the tournament, inSec and his men had defeated their superiors from China, but now the task they faced seemed practically impossible. Samsung White had run through the tournament with only a single game lost thusfar, coming when they had drafted as arrogantly and in as cavalier fashion as one could imagine, showing no respect at all to their opponent. In the semi-final they had beaten down Samsung Blue, the best team of the year, two-time OGN finalists and the only team to have beaten White in a Bo5 since they had acquired Pawn as their Mid laner. For inSec, he was now facing no mere man at his opposing position, but a god of the role itself: DanDy.
The player match-up was daunting enough, but inSec soon found himself facing the most difficult series of his entire career, thanks to the drafting of White. Rengar and Lee Sin were both banned for the first game and inSec was entirely neutralised, with his entire team collectively managing only a single kill in a devastating stomp. For the second game, White banned out Lee sin but not Rengar, as they had DanDy take Rengar. The Korean master of the Jungle showed inSec that there was a difference between the two of them, ripping apart Royal Club. Forced onto Kha'Zix for those first two games, inSec looked to be far from the class DanDy was able to exhibit.
For the third game, Lee Sin and Rengar were again banned, but at last inSec could have a legitimate impact on the map. Playing Rammus, certainly not a meta pick or something one would expect from inSec, he went 1/3/14 and SHRC won the game, thanks also to the play of Uzi. For the fourth game, Lee Sin remained off the table and White had DanDy take Rengar once more. Another god-like performance from the Samsung Jungler and inSec's pocket-pick luck finally running out, with his 3/6/1 Pantheon performance nothing to be spoken of further, and White had won the World Championship.
Over the two games DanDy had played Rengar, the deity of the Jungle role had painted a masterpiece that was reflected in a combined 11/1/23 stat-line. inSec had gained a second wind in his career playing in the World Championship, he had overcome the demons of his fifth game losses and he had shone on unusual pocket picks, but even he could not find a solution to DanDy and Samsung White.
The unlikely return
Despite his loss in the final, one must consider inSec's run an overwhelming success. When he left Korea, it was likely never to return and certainly never to amaze the Korea audiences again. The worst Jungler in the region, statistically, he was being put out into a lesser league to perhaps rustle up a few highlight plays, but even there he was not expected to be a legitimate contender. Not only had inSec finished third in LPL and top two in the Regional qualifier, he had then converted that into a World Championship run which had seen him returning to home soil for the play-offs and then besting the top Chinese teams there to reach the final. Even in the final, he had been able to summon a single game to remind the crowd that he was a great player too, just not at the level of DanDy right now.
Following the World Championship, SHRC went on to finish runners-up in the GALAXY eSports Carnival, losing out to King in the final again but besting OMG in two separate Bo3 series. They also finished top four in the Demacia Cup Season 2, falling to an EDG line-up now featuring Deft and Pawn. inSec now faces harsher competition at home, with DanDy and KaKAO, the paragons of the Jungle position, both competing with him in LPL.
inSec is still the aggressive player who engages at will and demands unquestioning follow-up from his team. He still focuses his attention on high mobility champions, willing to risk his life at any moment for a chance to create chaos. He is still a mechanically brilliant and yet maddeningly inconsistent force for his teams. He is still inSec, Korea's prodigal son. Count him out at your peril!
Photo credit: lolesports, ESL, OnGameNet, inven
Custom artwork by Jenny X (@hyuugaclan)